Grocery Shopping Goofs

I am coming to the conclusion that when distracted I become an absolute ditz. As a mother of 7 children it is easy for me to use them as an excuse. To be honest I was quite capable of doing crazy things before my children came along. In fact many times they keep me out of trouble.

The other day I was out with just my oldest daughter. It was like a girls day out except for we only had a couple of hours and a doctors appointment to attend. I literally had 2 things to pick up at Walmart and figured if we went before the appointment that we wouldn’t be tempted to pick up more. That’s when the trouble started. I must have somehow checked my brain at the door. We were only there for less than 20 minutes. In that short period of time, I managed to narrowly-avoid 2 collisions with other carts. When I felt I was finally in the clear, and intended on making a straight line to the nearest check out, I must have been distracted by something because I collided directly into a man with 2 children. I didn’t hit his cart. I hit him! He didn’t seem too worried and I’m thankful it was a middle-aged man instead of a senior citizen. I can’t help but thinking that my cart pushing license should be revoked temporarily.

My shopping trip to Aldi’s possessed a unique type of embarrassment. A few months ago I came to Aldi’s alone. It was crowded so I had to park a good distance away from store. Before I exited my car I recalled that a quarter is required to get a shopping cart. I dumped out my purse looking for it. I finally found a quarter somewhere in the van. I took my time strolling through the aisles, excited at the good deals I was finding. My cart was overflowing when I made it to the checkout. The polite cashier rang everything up quite efficiently. It was there, with my cart brimming over with produce and other perishables, that panic struck. My wallet was not in my purse. I had no way of paying for that cart full of groceries. It occurred to me that I must have left my wallet in the car after dumping out my purse. I apologized to the cashier and told her I would run to get my wallet and be right back. Have you ever witnessed a 40-year-old woman do a sprint across a grocery store parking lot? I can only imagine what the other patrons were thinking. I returned to pay for my cart load of groceries in a matter of minutes. The cashier even commented on how quickly I had made it back. She still gives me a special smile every time she notices me at the store.

This last embarrassing grocery shopping experience could have only happened in the presence of my children. We were shopping at our local bulk grocery store. All of the children were with me so my antennae were up. People tend to pay a lot of attention to large families. I guess to some we are like a walking reality show. Most of our shopping was complete that day and I found myself in the vitamin aisle comparing Flintstones to the store brand. I knew my children were bored, and probably had too much energy, so I kept them in my peripheral. I saw the cart coming toward me and without even looking I grabbed it to keep my children from leaving the aisle. As I looked up prepared to fuss at one of my children, I found that the cart I was holding hostage belonged to a lady about the same age as my mom. She looked shocked and then amused: once I let go and tried to apologize.

I would love to pretend that these events were very rare occurrences. The truth is some of us are just prone to craziness. I have absolutely no desire to be in a reality show but sometimes I do feel like I am living in a sitcom.

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Meet The Rodrigues Family

We live in a world where people fear the unknown. We look at people and can easily judge them as being strange, weird or worse. I know the feeling of standing out or being peculiar. In middle school I discovered the harder I tried to fit in the worse the criticism became. In high school I decided not to try to fit in or be cool. I totally identified as the “Jesus Freak” and did not worry much about what others thought of me. My motto soon became: “If you do it your own way they can’t tell you that your doing it wrong!”.

Now I have seven children and we dress in what we consider to be a modest and distinct way. We do not do anything because we want to be like anyone else but because we think it is how God wants us to live. Basically, we have learned to be a source of curiosity, amusement and sometimes ridicule. I have learned to laugh about the criticism. It still hurts but not as much if you can laugh about it.

The Rodrigues family is a family I was introduced to about 6 years ago at a homeschooling conference. David Rodrigues has known my husband since they were both bachelors in New York possibly more than 20 years. They have not really kept in touch but that day we ran into them at the conference my husband was obviously excited to catch up with an old friend.

His wife, Jill, could not have been sweeter. I remember feeling exhausted and not very friendly that day but she was so kind toward me. I found myself apologizing for my grumpiness the next time I saw her and she would not hear of it.

We only get to see their family on rare occasions but I now stay in touch with Jill on Facebook. I have at times asked her for prayer when I needed comfort in scary situations. She has demonstrated grace and faithfulness even in the most trying of times in her own life.

Did I fail to mention that they just had their 13th child a couple of months ago?

All of their children have a sweet spirit and a joy I believe from having two loving parents who have been raising them to love the Lord Jesus Christ. They all play at least one instrument (with exception of the newbornūüėä). The family travels a lot to different churches to sing and play together.

They are not seeking a contract with TLC or competing with anyone, from my understanding. They are just doing what they feel the LORD wants them to do.

So what prompted me to tell you about this unusual family. I saw some criticism about them. People that have obviously never met them or taken time to get to know them. I am not concerned to find they are not perfect. For I have only met one perfect person in my entire life. His name is Jesus Christ. It is by Him giving His life on the cross and conquering death 3 days later that I can be confident that I have eternal life awaiting me in Heaven.

I figured that instead of trying to set the record straight by commenting on these ridiculous websites and blogs that I would blog about them myself.

Life is just too short to spend our time being so critical of others.‚̧ԳŹ

If you want to know more about them you can go to their website:

http://rodriguesfamilyministries.com/main/

Expired No More- Part III

Could it be possible that some of the trials we go through have little to do with us at all?

Before my son was born I could have never conceived spending a night with my child in the NICU more or less a week.  The LORD knew I was not strong enough to watch my child suffer or atleast I believed this to be true.

When this trial first began to unravel I went from emergency mode to an open faucet of tears.  I tried not to cry in front of the ambulance driver, the nurses, the doctors, my children and so on.   I remember apologizing to my husband for crying so much as we headed back to the hospital the next morning.  He told me not to be ashamed of my tears because they were silent prayers to God.  (Have I ever mentioned how amazing my husband is?)

There came a point in the hospital that I did not feel the need to cry so much. ¬†God’s grace had met me in the midst of the fire. ¬†I felt His overwhelming peace as I surrounded myself with scripture and Christian music.

I suddenly found myself surrounded by people who needed hope that only the LORD could offer.  I found opportunities to share my faith with the nurses and staff at the front desk.

One day a young lady who worked there came to me while I was waiting for the nurses to insert yet another IV into my son.  The conversation quickly escalated from casual to questions about my faith.  In the hallway of the NICU I was able to give her a full presentation of the Gospel.

Staff were only the beginning. ¬†Everywhere I looked there were parents and family members of sick babies. ¬†I can’t remember how many people I was able to encourage in the LORD some I even prayed with.

One father stands out in my mind.  His name was Eric.  I had met him earlier but was not really aware of why his baby was in there.  It was about midnight and I had gone to the waiting room for a snack.  I sat down at the table next to his.  We talked about the coming election but then his face grew very serious.  He expressed that his son was very sick.

I cannot explain what happened next without giving full credit to the LORD. ¬†I started sharing the testimony of my little brother’s birth. ¬†I told of how he was born with a diaphragmatic hernia in the early 80’s and how he miraculously beat all of the odds.

In astonishment, Eric told me that his baby, Max, was there because of a diaphragmatic hernia.  What are the odds?  There is no doubt in my mind that I was right where the LORD wanted me at that very moment in time.  I went on to share the Gospel with Eric that night.

In the midst of all of the tests and facing the unknown something occurred to me.  What if the seizures my son had endured had little to do with him or me?

The doctors never found any cause for the seizures.  He is on one medication and has not had a seizure since he was 48 hours old.

What if we had endured testing for the sole purpose of encouraging Eric and giving him the Gospel?  Would it have been worth it?  What is one soul worth to God?

Could it be possible that some of the trials we endure have little to do with us at all?

 

 

Expired No More-Part II

As I stumbled after the EMT’s through the entrance of the NICU everything seemed to spin. ¬†My husband needed to park the car so I sat alone on a couch, in my son’s new room, as numerous medical staff buzzed around and the EMT gave a synopsis of all that had happened in the past 7 hours. ¬†After the summary they brought my son out of the incubator, he had been transported in, and lay him on the warming table. ¬†He immediately had another “episode” for all of the staff to witness. ¬†I consider this to have been the hand of God, for I no longer had to describe what I had seen, hours prior, the staff watched the scene unfold before them.

Several of these people introduced themselves to us as they talked us through what to expect and gave us paperwork to sign.  I held back tears and could only think of the fact that he had not been fed and had to be hungry.  I would then be told that I was welcome to pump but I could not feed him until they knew more about his condition.  As a mother who had breastfed 6 babies with no interference this came as a hard blow.  I knew that I no longer had free access to care for my child using my motherly instincts.

Feeling ill from little sleep and no food for atleast 7 hours my husband and I got a snack. ¬†We discussed our options and decided that I would need to go home and rest if I were to recover from giving birth less than 48 hours before. ¬†The nurse assured me that she would take good care of him. ¬†I have never had to leave a child at a hospital before. ¬†I barely slept that night. ¬†We got up early, dropped the children off at their cousin’s house and headed back to the hospital. ¬†A phone call to the nurse, before we arrived, revealed that my son had experienced two more “episodes” since we had left and now was being video taped with an EEG¬†attached to his head. ¬†They had finally confirmed my suspicions. ¬†These “episodes” were seizures and they had no idea what was causing them.

When Children’s first came to get my baby boy they prepared me for him to be in NICU for 72 hours. ¬†This alone overwhelmed me. The original EMT saw no reason why I would not be able to continue nursing my child after his admittance. ¬†I feel that God protected me from knowing what would happen because I was not ready to process it yet.

If I had known that my sweet child would have to endure 36 hours without food, a spinal tap, 2 MRIs, 4 IV insertions, numerous heel pricks and so on, just so they could confirm that they had no idea what was causing the seizures I would have run the opposite  direction.

In the end he spent 6 nights in NICU but the purpose of our stay there far surpassed a diagnosis. ¬†My LORD God had a plan and I got a too watch it unfold with awe…

Expired No More: A Birth Story

So it looks like I have not posted on my blog in so long that my account information has expired.  What has kept me from expressing myself, on this blog, in so long?

The short and sweet answer would be: “life”. ¬†Having my seventh child basically ¬†has turned my life upside down. ¬† Has it been worth it? ¬†Yes.

In October, I gave birth to an amazing little boy. ¬†Now our family’s ¬†boy to girl ratio is ¬†3 to 4.

My birth experience was one of the most difficult I have ever had. I was somewhat spoiled with my first 6 births. ¬†I usual don’t labor very long. ¬†But this one broke the mold.

I would start laboring at 10:30 pm and have a painful, sleepless night attended by a midwife and assistants.  At one point, about 13 hours later, I was so exhausted and overwhelmed with the pain that I was sobbing.  My midwife and birth assistant tried to encourage me but I was through.  A last ditch effort: my midwife asked if I would be willing to get into our deep bathtub.  Three contractions later the tub was clean and filled.  The hot water soothed my aching muscles and lifted my heavy limbs.  I had one more contraction, that was still quite painful,  and then had the urge to push.  Only 12 minutes passed before my little guy was born.  He swam into my life as the only baby in our family born underwater.

The next day, as I recovered from a long frustrating labor,  I looked at my husband and expressed to him how thankful I was that it was all over and at least we had a healthy son to show for all of my trouble.  Little did I know that the trying of our faith had just begun.

Just 25 hours after giving birth my son would have a seizure.  The birth assistant sat just across from me as she checked on me a day after the birth.  She noticed his faced was a strange color and we at once assumed he was was choking.  After a quick assessment it became obvious that he was breathing but not as much as he should be. We stripped his clothes off to find his entire body a bluish gray.  His respiratory rate had gone down to 20.  He recovered after about 1 minute but the birth assistant insisted we take him to the emergency room.

We took him to the closest hospital and quickly learned that an ambulance from Children’s hospital would be on it’s way. ¬†I had never had a child transported by ambulance before that evening. ¬†I chose to ride with my husband behind the ambulance because my emotions were in overload.

Little did I know as we passed through the hospital doors that my faith would be tested more than ever before…

 

Why We Homeschool…

Dear School Boards Everywhere:

Recently, the county I was raised in has decided to become a great deal more strict on their homeschoolers.  I now live in the next county but have heard one story after another of homeschooling moms being interrogated about not showing enough proof that they are regularly instructing their children. I personally know many of these moms and know them to be loving, diligent educators of their children who willingly made available ample proof for educating their children.

Honestly, I must admit that as a homeschooling mom I, automatically, come to the defense of my wounded comrades.  I majored in Elementary Education during my four years in college and have had experience with teaching at a private school.

My most extreme issue with this particular system of homeschool assessment is the reviewers lack of familiarity with the process of homeschooling.  The reviewers are employees of the public school system, usually teachers or administrators, with little to no experience in the actual world of homeschooling.  Homeschooling is not something a mother does from 9-5. It is a total subculture. It is who we are!

How does the average homeschool philosophy and, therefore, program differ from that of public school?

#1 The child is being educated by his parent(s).  These are the people who know him better and love him more than anyone in the world.  A parent has the opportunity to pick up on the needs and challenges of their child more quickly and adjust their teaching styles accordingly.

As a teacher I often wondered why one of my students seemed to be down or acting up on certain days. ¬†As a mother I know if one of my children has not been feeling well, got a poor night’s sleep or did not eat enough for breakfast.

I am also aware of how my children learn best and where their strengths and weaknesses lie.

#2 The student to teacher ratio is much lower in most cases of homeschooling than that of the public school classroom.  This allows for a parent to access their child one on one, on a daily basis, by often sitting beside them or reviewing their work and being able to field questions that arise regularly.  This makes the need for tests and quizzes minimal, especially in the elementary grades, because the parent knows what the child understands.  The child is then not forced to move on to another concept until he has mastered the current one because he is not trying to keep up with his classmates.

#3 Public schools live by testing whether regularly in the classroom or annually by standardized testing. ¬†In a large arena, when the culture demands a means of comparison in the overall knowledge of a student, this makes sense. Sadly, this has led many educators to “teach to the test”. ¬†Students learn only to regurgitate the information instead of internalizing its lifelong value. ¬†This is great for factory workers and people who¬†are not required to think for themselves. ¬†This does not encourage a lifelong love of learning.

After many years in the county in question’s school system, I graduated 5th in my class of around 150 students. Yet when I arrived at college I still had the “just pass the test” mentality that I had been taught. ¬†I still mourn the loss of the true education I missed during my college years because instead of desiring knowledge my goal was just to get a diploma.

Due to the individualized nature of homeschooling, students can be encouraged to learn for the joy of it and not because they will be graded on it or comparatively tested about it.

Homeschooling parents have opportunities that most educators can only dream about.  As a family we have traveled by van as far northeast as Massachusetts and as far southeast as Florida.  We have driven out to Iowa and Wisconsin while stopping at many National Historical Sites along the way.  Can we say FIELD TRIP?

Being a homeschooling mom has finally gotten me out of¬†the “is this going to be on the test?” mentality ¬†and into a “that’s amazing what else can I learn” mindset.

#4 ¬†Why would homeschooling parents have their child(ren) home with them an extra 40+ hours a week when they could put them on a school bus for free, if they did not care about their child(ren)’s well-being?

I venture to say that the main motivation for most homeschoolers is love. We are not being paid or given any material benefit for educating our children at home. ¬†There is no substitute teacher when we are having a bad day. ¬†Being with your children 24/7 doesn’t allow for a whole lot of “me time.” ¬†We are not earning “homeschooling parent of the year” awards are being featured with honors in the local newspaper. ¬†There are not even tax breaks afforded for purchasing curriculum. ¬†Our major driving force is a love for our children and the overwhelming desire to see them succeed.

The great majority of homeschooling parents have their child’s best-interests in mind and are investing their lives into making it happen. ¬†Don’t punish the majority for the sake of the one percent that are not doing what they should.

Train your review staff to know about different curriculum options and methods of homeschooling.  If you truly care about our children and their future we are on the same side.

Sincerely,

A Loving Parent

 

 

 

Just When I Thought Life Would Never Be The Same….

I thought I had things figured out. I had come to terms that my childbearing years were coming to an abrupt halt. I had dealt with hope deferred month after month.

Then I started feeling unusually tired. My “time of the month” was late. I asked my husband to make a quick stop at Walmart, as we headed home from church on a Wednesday night. I don’t like to tell him before I take a test. I like to surprise him with the good news.

As soon as we got home I snuck off to take the test. I thanked the LORD immediately when the second line appeared bright pink in front of me!

My husband and I speak Spanish if we don’t want the children to understand us. We used to spell to each other but they learned how to spell. We have noticed their Spanish improving, tooūüėĮ

I approached Cesar and said,”Tu esposa esta embarazada.” (Your wife is pregnant.)

He chuckled in response and looked at me in disbelief. Then he said,”Really?” He actually thought I was joking. Hard to believeūüėá

I guess I thoroughly surprised him this timeūüėā

By my calculations our baby is due around the middle of October. That would make me a little over ten weeks along.

It has been a rough month of sickness thus far but I am thankful for a healthy baby. Thank you for your prayers for me and the baby’s health and my husband’s sanityūüėĀ